Test For Mitochondrial Dysfunction
ATP is necessary for energy production for all body functions.
In a study with 71 patients with CFS and 53 healthy controls, a highly significant correlation was observed between the degree of mitochondrial dysfunction and the severity of illness. Go here for more about this potential CFS test.
A test for ATP can be done at Biolab, London, UK. See below.
Please note that you may test as having normal mitochondrial function and still have a diagnosis of CFS/ME.
Manage Mental Load At The Source
Think of your brain like the RAM on your computer thats the short-term data storage your computer needs to do whatever youre asking it to do right now. When you have one program open running one task, all the RAM is dedicated to that one thing and everything zips along nicely. But then you open another window. And another. And then a new internet tab or twenty. Each additional demand on your computer slows things down.
You have two choices: you can either increase your RAM or you can decrease the number of applications you have open at any given time. Here are some of the ways you can lighten your mental load:
- Only touch things once. I have an email sitting in my inbox thats 3 months old. Its not that important, but it does require a response. I see it every time I check my email. Ive opened it multiple times. I havent actually done anything about it, yet it continues to take up little bits of precious mental energy. Dont do that. Instead follow the touch it once rule:
The general idea is that as soon as you touch something, whether its a piece of mail or a project that needs to be filed, you immediately act on it. This could be fully completing the task at once or determining the next actionable steps to move it along.
You Have Trouble Sleeping
Insomnia is among the major signs of mental fatigue. It is a common sleep disorder that affects your ability to go to sleep, stay asleep, or affects the quality of sleep you get each night. Such changes in sleep patterns can result in restlessness throughout the day which can greatly affect productivity and efficiency. Luckily, there are numerous self-care tips and remedies that can help you improve the quality of your sleep.
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Missed Milestones To Faded Friendships: The Unacknowledged Grief Of 2020
However, the trauma is much bigger for individuals directly affected by the pandemic, says Galea. That includes those who’ve lost loved ones, lost a job or housing, struggled with child care, or have had COVID-19 themselves some of whom report continuing to experience exhaustion that’s thought to be associated with the viral infection.
Dont Be Afraid To Say No
We all have certain work, school, or home responsibilities we cant avoid on top of commitments to friends and family. Trying to do everything or make everyone happy can run you dry.
Saying no can be difficult. You might even want to take on extra responsibilities at work to prove your worth, especially if youre seeking a raise or promotion. And who doesnt feel bad about having to turn down a loved one asking for help?
But remember: Youre just one person. Its simply not possible to support everyone in your life all the time. Support your own needs and practice saying no when you dont feel up to helping out or if youre already burdened with other projects or tasks.
If you regret not being able to help, you can always soften your refusal by saying something like, I wish I could help, but Ive got a lot to deal with right now. Please keep me in mind if you need help in the future.
See your healthcare provider if:
If your symptoms seem more physical than emotional, it may help to start by talking to your primary healthcare provider, who can help you narrow down a possible cause.
If youre dealing with mostly mental health symptoms, consider talking to a therapist or asking your healthcare provider for a referral. Even a few sessions with a mental health professional can help you better understand your mental exhaustion and come up with ways to combat it.
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What Is Mental Exhaustion
You probably feel tired and drained after intense physical activity, right? Well, long periods of intense mental activity can wear you out, too.
To put it simply, mental exhaustion can happen when your brain receives too much stimulation or has to maintain an intense level of activity without rest.
You might notice mental exhaustion, sometimes called mental fatigue, if you:
- often work or study for long hours with few or no breaks
- spend a lot of time each day dealing with overwhelming responsibilities
- live with mental health symptoms
- devote a lot of mental energy each day to thinking through problems, worries, or other sources of stress
Its not uncommon to feel physically fatigued from time to time, and the same holds true for mental fatigue. Still, lingering mental fatigue can affect your ability to think, solve problems, or process and regulate emotions. Eventually, it can even lead to challenges in your daily life and in relationships.
Below, well explore mental exhaustion more in-depth, plus offer tips to help manage and prevent it.
Stress Vs Mental Exhaustion
Stress is something everyone experiences from time to time. Its our bodys natural response to positive and negative situations that are new, exciting, or scary.
This biological response results in a surge of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. This boost of hormones helps us react quickly to perceived threats and high-pressure situations that require quick thinking. Once the stressor has been removed, your body should go back to normal.
Mental exhaustion is usually the result of long-term stress. When youre continually dealing with things that activate your bodys stress response, your cortisol levels remain high. Eventually, this begins to interfere with normal body functions, such as digestion, sleep, and your immune system.
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Helping Hands Need A Break Too: How To Lend Support Without Burning Out
Self-care is important, notes Gold of Washington University. “Take the vacation time you need,” she recommends. “Make sure that you’re taking care of yourself in the short and long term.”
And, she adds, “there’s no wrong time to go talk to someone.” If you can’t get an appointment with a therapist, talk to a friend or co-worker, she suggests.
“I think that because so many people are struggling with this and because it is so normal, everybody has something to say,” says Gold. “If we could just get to the point where we could be talking about the stuff more openly, we’d feel a lot less alone.”
You Feel Stressed And Anxious
Although mental exhaustion is not the same thing as stress, chronic exposure to stress can exhaust the body. Increased stress and anxiety are one of the most common signs of mental fatigue. High levels of anxiety over a long period of time can cause serious issues as well, for example, youll be more likely to experience panic attacks and suffer from diarrhea, nausea, jitters, and nervousness.
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Take Care Of Your Physical And Mental Health
In order to look after your mental health, you need to get rid of the bad habits. Instead of eating processed sugars and fast food, you should maintain a healthy diet. Its crucial to drink water avoid soda and commercial juices. Exercising is of the utmost importance! Also, dont ignore the signals that your body is sending you reach out to a friend, or seek help from a specialist. Theres no shame in that.
Failure To Identify The Cause
If youve gone through the barrage of testing and were unable to determine any direct causal factors, it doesnt mean that your chronic fatigue cannot be dealt with or improved. Those that are unable to identify the direct cause may need to do some self-experimentation to find out what actually helps raise energy levels and ultimately what methods you can use to overcome the condition. You dont need to accept the reality of functioning in sloth-mode for your entire life.
Guessing the cause: Even though you may have ruled out many medical conditions that could be causing the problem, it is important to still attempt to figure out what factors may be contributing to your chronic fatigue. In other words, think back to the time when the condition developed what changed in your life that may have depleted your energy.
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How Can Wecare Help
Our caring GPs take mental fatigue and COVID-related fatigue seriously. We know that it can have a big impact on your life and we want to help you either avoid or recover from it.
Were able to:
- Listen as you describe how you feel
- Test for any underlying medical conditions or nutritional deficiencies that might be causing some of your symptoms
- Advise you on ways to simplify your life to improve your wellbeing
- Give you a medical certificate so you can be given light duties or some time off work if you need it
- Prescribe any medication that might help or recommend complementary therapies
- Check in with you regularly to see how youre progressing and whether you need more help.
Please book an appointment and get the help you need.
All information is general in nature. Patients should consider their own personal circumstances and seek a second opinion.
How Can You Prevent Or Manage Mental Fatigue
Preventing mental fatigue really involves putting in place some measures to protect yourself from burnout.
- Regular time off: Dont waste your annual leave or spend it all at once then have no other breather for the rest of the year. Regular breaks like a mental health day or a long weekend can help to recharge your batteries throughout the year and ward off burnout.
- Looking after yourself: Eat well, get enough sleep, exercise regularly and build in regular time for enjoyable activities that refresh your spirits
- Maintaining deep relationships: Spending time with friends and family gives you a sense of connection and belonging. Hopefully some of these people are good listeners so talk to them about how youre feeling.
- Resting when sick: Its OK to spend the day in bed when youre unwell. Thats why you have sick leave. Dont push on regardless when youre unwell. Take time to rest and recover.
- Learning how to say No: If youre already feeling under pressure, dont take on more. Its OK to politely refuse an invitation, to ask if you can postpone or to negotiate your workload with your boss. Here are 21 ways to give a good no.
The tips above will also help if youve already gone down with mental fatigue. In addition you can try:
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Ask Yourself: Whats Behind Your Mental Exhaustion
In many cases, mental fatigue results from several reasons. But, if you can pinpoint a particular cause, then you can take a more structured approach in handling your fatigue.
For instance, if you know that the high demands of your job causes your fatigue, then you can talk to your superior or colleagues about it. Perhaps, you can take a break, delegate some tasks, or move some deadlines.
How To Overcome And Prevent Mental Fatigue
Mental exhaustion can happen to anyone when stress accumulates over time with no outlet to let the steam out. It drains you emotionally, rendering you unable to perform even simple tasks without feeling overwhelmed. But, it can be easily prevented and treated. Here are some tips on how to overcome mental exhaustion:
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Reconsider Your Working Conditions
If your job consistently demands more time and mental energy than you can realistically put in, it may not be a sustainable long-term career option.
Of course, you may not necessarily have the option of giving notice and taking time to search for another job. Also, coming home from work and spending the small amount of free time you do have on job hunting might only exhaust you more.
However, it can help to consider the options you do have open to you. For example, you might:
- set firmer boundaries around working hours so you can rest and relax each day
- ask your supervisor about potential workplace changes that could ease some of the burden
- set aside a few hours each week to search for a new job
- take 20 minutes each day to network and explore job opportunities
When To Get Professional Support
Unrelenting stress doesnt just factor into mental exhaustion, it can also contribute to a range of other physical and mental health consequences. Eventually, stress can lead to burnout, where you can feel hopeless about anything ever changing and helpless to take action that might help.
Mental exhaustion can have serious consequences and not just for your physical and emotional health. Ongoing fatigue can slow your reaction time and contribute to traffic accidents and dangerous errors at high risk jobs.
Thats one reason why getting professional help for mental exhaustion sooner rather than later is so important.
If youve noticed any of the signs and symptoms, consider connecting with a therapist. Mental health professionals can offer support with:
- identifying causes and triggers
- exploring treatment options
- learning helpful ways to cope with stress and demanding responsibilities
A doctor or other healthcare professional might also be able to offer support, especially if youve noticed physical fatigue and other health symptoms.
What Is Fatigue Management
Fatigue management is the name given to the conscious efforts associated with managing fatigue. As we touched on before, fatigue management can involve proactive actions and activities which seek to prevent fatigue from occurring, as well as reactive procedures which seek to reduce the impact of fatigue once it has been identified.
Fatigue management isn’t just the responsibility of a company or organisation. Workers play a huge role in fatigue management, by living a healthy and functional life outside of work which enables them to come to work alert and ready to perform at the expected level.
Fatigue management is an ongoing endeavour, with an ever-evolving world constantly introducing new ‘spanners’ which can increase fatigue, including mobile phones and Netflix.
Shift Design And Rostering
Shift design and good rostering is a massively impactful fatigue management strategy for companies who manage workers engaging in shift work and non-normal schedules.
There is no perfect shift design or rostering, with every worker reacting a little differently to a certain schedule and many nuances creating variation in impact. When assessing how well your shift designs and rosters account for fatigue, you really need to think about the life of a person engaged in that schedule, as well as the risk associated with implementing that type of structure. From there, you may create different fatigue management strategies which align more closely to your chosen shift design and rostering.
Some good rules of thumb are:
- Provide workers with choice and flexibility
- Avoid extremely early morning starts where possible
- Restrict the number of successive night shifts
- Build regularly free blocks or weekends for workers where possible
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What If My Circumstances Wont Change
Protective factors can be key to cutting down the negative impacts of situations we cant improve. These are tools and habits that help counteract risk factors, including everything from nurturing a positive self-image to having a supportive friend group.
While some factors might change over time, like your income level or social connections, others, like self-discipline and social skills, stay with you throughout your life. Not having these factors growing up could lead to a higher risk of burnout down the line or other consequences like depression and substance use.
While there are many stressors we wont be able to change in our lives, we can gain tools to help reduce them.
For example, while you might not be able to change a paralyzing injury, a supportive social circle can help lower the stress and change your outlook on life. Systemic racism may be difficult or impossible to escape, but strong advocacy skills can help you feel control and even improve the situation.
Change Up Your Study Habits
How do you typically study? Do you reread assigned chapters? Review chapter highlights? Go over your notes, focusing on the things you didnt understand the first time?
Simply reading over the chapters or your notes may not help, especially if you tend to zone out while reading. Trying a new approach to studying could make a difference in your level of cognitive energy and your grades.
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What Is Mental Fatigue Or Exhaustion
Mental fatigue or mental exhaustion occurs when your brain goes into overdrive after being exposed to stress and anxiety for a prolonged period of time. As a result, a person may feel physically and mentally tired, lethargic, and unproductive. It is more common in people working in stressful environments and is increasingly being reported among teenagers and students. Luckily, mental exhaustion is usually not harmful and can be easily identified, prevented, and treated.
Make Wellness A Priority
Remember, your mind and body are connected in a lot of ways, so make sure you stay on top of your physical health.
- Opt for nutrient-rich foods more often than not
- Stick to a regular sleep schedule.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about any persistent health concerns, even if they seem minor.
- Take time off to recover when you get sick.
- Commit to regular exercise, even if its just a 15-minute walk on your lunch break.
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